Lifelong dancing requires lifelong learning?
I can easily imagine myself dropping out of the Lindy scene within the next year or so. There are many reasons but one of the big ones is that there is not a lot more I can easily learn in my scene. Note the emphasis on easily.
Alex’s comments really resonated with me:
One reason I have withdrawn a bit from my local dance scene is that I don’t like the intensity of the more advanced lessons. I live in Philadelphia where there are ample opportunities for more advanced lessons.
But I find that these lessons are too intense for me. When I became more experienced as a dancer, I did not become any better or faster at learning things. I still like to learn slowly. And I didn’t become any less interested in social dance for meeting people and being social and having fun.
I feel like a lot of advanced lessons are run like drills, run like teaching people to perform. The pace is faster and there is less down time. And I hate this.
I have plenty to learn and there are classes and workshops I could go to but as a social dancer for whom dancing is a hobby and not an obsession I simply don’t fit into those classes.
Advanced classes tend to be full of people who are obsessed by Lindy Hop, who are/want to be teachers, performers or competitors, people who pick things up very quickly, people who go home and endlessly practice, etc. The pace of the classes is usually pretty quick and there is pressure to perform and get things right almost immediately from both students and teachers. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with any of this, advanced classes are supposed to be advanced and all that.
However, what about those of us who aren’t natural dancers and take a bit longer to pick things up? Or those of us with stressful jobs who have no desire to add to this stress during our free time? Or those of who feel that 2-3 hours of new material is more than enough and find weekend workshops overwhelming?
If we’re talking mainstream education, we’re the people who were in Set B for maths. We might have ended up with the same grades as the people in Set A but we needed to go at a slower pace and do a lot more worked examples that our classmates in the A Set who instantly got the material. There’s not a lot of Set B style teaching going on out there but there are a fair few people who have the desire to carry on learning and improving their dance skills but can’t find a suitable class.
Whilst I don’t entirely agree with Rebecca’s post on The Hidden Reason We Become Lindy Hoppers [challenge] I do think that without the opportunity to carry on learning many of us Set B types end up drifting away from the Lindy scene (and in London at least, seem to end up doing Tango). After 5+ years of classes and workshops there isn’t really anywhere to go to learn more if you’re not up for advanced classes and all that goes with them.*
* Of course there are plenty of other ways to develop your dancing but if you’re not an obsessive Lindy Hopper and you’ve still got friends in the real world then your are more likely to be doing ‘normal’ stuff rather than working on your solo jazz moves in front of a mirror!